Foodie guide to the Gold Line Eastside Extension – Pico/Aliso and Mariachi Plaza

The eight new stations on Metro’s growing rail system will lead Angelenos to some fantastic options for munching.  The internet is buzzing about the possibilities and even the Mayor has chimed in with his two cents about where to eat.

Metro has put out a map of restaurants (PDF) along the line, but the inclusion of places like McDonalds, Subway, and Pizza Hut left me wanting to explore the dining options a little deeper.  I love a Quarter Pounder as much as the next guy, but I decided it would be best to look to the local reviewers on Yelp! to find out if Metro missed any gems along the Gold Line that don’t involve golden arches.

My general methodology goes like this: restaurants must be located within half a mile (about a 10-minute walk) from the stations, they must receive at least four stars from Yelp reviewers, and there has to be a minimum of 10 Yelp reviews in order to make the cut. If some restaurants listed don’t match this criteria, I’ll make note of it.

Next stops: the Pico/Aliso Station and Mariachi Plaza Station, just east of the Los Angeles river.

Pico/Aliso Station

After the culinary cornucopia that is the Little Tokyo/Arts District, the Pico/Aliso Station is a little underwhelming. Metro’s map lists two restaurants, Mom’s Kitchen and San Rafael Bakery. My Yelp search found only one additional restaurant. The good news is that it happens to be my favorite pizza place in Los Angeles.


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Purgatory Pizza (0.0 miles away)
3.5 stars based on 31 reviews.
This pizza is seriously good. Some have called it the best New York style pizza in L.A. Plus, Purgatory is about as close as you can get the Pico/Aliso Station without being on the train.

Mom’s Kitchen (0.1 miles away)
No reviews!

San Rafael Bakery (0.1 miles away)
No reviews!

So while it’s light on choices, Pico/Aliso offers some great L.A. pizza.  The Yelpers may not LOVE it, but I sure do. The other options are untested on Yelp, but what better incentive to hop on the Gold Line and write some new reviews?

Next, we head underground a short distance to Mariachi Plaza Station with hopes of a foodie paradise above.

Mariachi Plaza Station

Mariachi Plaza is home not only to Los Angeles’ mariachi musicians, but also to some fine Mexican cuisine. Metro listed nine establishments on its Flavors map and covered almost everything, but I found a few additional gems on Yelp including a coffee house and an affordable Asian restaurant.  One note, on Metro’s map Homegirl Cafe is listed, but it is no longer at the Mariachi Plaza location. It’s still along the Gold Line however, just off the Chinatown Station.


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Here are the top restaurants according to Yelp:

La Serenata de Garibaldi (0.1 miles away)
4 stars based on 61 reviews.
According to Curbed LA, this is Mayor Villaraigosa’s pick along the Gold Line. Yelp reviewers seem to agree and describe it as premium Mexican dining and a premium price.

Birrieria Jalisco (0.1 miles away)
4.5 stars based on 10 reviews.
Goat meat, and only goat meat, prepared just like they do in Jalisco. Yelpers praise the flavor, value, and authentic atmosphere.

Primera Taza Coffee House (0.1 miles away)
3.5 stars based on 3 reviews.
Coffee, sandwiches, and pastries.

Jim’s Burgers (0.1 miles away)
4 stars based on 9 reviews.
Yelpers seem to agree, tasty burgers on the cheap.

Thai Deli (0.4 miles away)
4 stars based on 14 reviews.
Asian food served in large portions for low prices.

Other stops:

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